Visa is giving its merchants more flexibility in offering discounts to their customers, and reversing restrictions that prevented retail partners from offering special deals to customers that paid with a specific bank's credit or debit card. Visa quietly lifted the ban on February 1. Story by Kevin Wack and Maria Aspan for American Banker.
Discover is launching a checking account that will compete with traditional banks. Discover said its new account will be free and customers won't be required to keep a minimum balance. The move is part of Discover's ongoing expansion beyond traditional plastic. In recent years, Discover has started offering mortgages, student loans, certificates of deposits and money-market accounts. Discover can make its checking account free in part because it doesn't have the costly infrastructure of typical banks, such as a branch network. Story by Robin Sidel for the Wall Street Journal.
Visa and MasterCard unveiled industry partnerships and technology systems intended to make it easier for consumers to make purchases online, on mobile devices and in physical stores without having to pull out a credit or debit card. MasterCard said its new MasterPass platform will allow cardholders to store their card information in a single software program that can be used to make payments through merchants who sign up for their service. Providing easy access to retail deals and consumer incentives could increase transaction volume and provide new revenue streams for the payment networks, banks and merchants. Story by Andrew Johnson for the Wall Street Journal.
It's perhaps not so surprising that a Bank of America customer discovered recurring payments on his credit card bill for a service he swears he never signed up for. What is surprising is that BofA refused his request for proof that he authorized the bank by phone to enroll him in its Credit Protection Plus program, which came with a $212.50 monthly charge. BofA's stance: We're right and have nothing to prove. Story by David Lazarus for the LA Times.
Foursquare announced that it will now accept Visa, MasterCard and debit cards in conjunction with its check-in deals program, an initiative previously only open to a smaller group of cardholders. The program builds on Foursquare's partnership with American Express which allows Foursquare users to redeem special discounts and deals by checking in to local businesses after linking their Foursquare accounts to their credit card. Story by Mark Isaac for All Things D.
Avoid debt if you can. If you can't, borrow carefully and conservatively. So the conventional wisdom goes. But if you follow it blindly, you may miss out on key nuances of dealing with debt. As many people look to rebuild credit or land loans, it's crucial to know when the conventional wisdom makes sense--and when it doesn't. With that in mind, here are some top myths that consumers fall victim to when borrowing today. Story by Rachel Louise Ensign for the Wall Street Journal.
The Supreme Court considered whether to expand on its recent rulings allowing companies to avoid class-action lawsuits by insisting that customers resolve complaints through arbitration. In the case before the court, a group of merchants argued that the arbitration terms imposed by American Express, as part of a credit card contract, were preventing them from seeking damages. The court's recent history, and the questions from the justices, suggested that arbitration requirements will be further entrenched. Story by Binyamin Appelbaum for the New York Times.
Based on the 1000+ cards in the LowCards.com Complete Credit Card Index, the average advertised APR for credit cards is 14.35 percent, identical to last week. Six months ago, the average was 14.36 percent. One year ago, the average was 14.25 percent.